| Message by Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to Brunei Darussalam Salah Mubarak Al-Mutairi |
NEARLY six decades have passed since Kuwait gained its independence, a great watershed event that ushered in the rise of a new dawn. Kuwait has always been an oasis of peace, stability and prosperity throughout the ages.
Amid popular and official participation, Kuwaitis mark the 58th Independence Day, the 28th Liberation Day as well as the 13th anniversary of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s assumption to power, while reminiscing with pride the glories made by the nation’s forefathers. Gaieties of the National Day celebrations continue to pervade in every corner of our country throughout this February.
It is a great opportunity to extend my heartfelt congratulations to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, as well as the Government and people of Kuwait on these delightful occasions.
Blessed with sagacious leadership and conscious people, Kuwait proceeds with steady steps on the path of development and attained tremendous accomplishments in various domains; thanks to policies and strategies adopted by Kuwait under the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir.
At the political level, Kuwait preserves its stability despite the turmoil and unrest prevailing elsewhere. This did not occur in vacuum; Kuwait was among the first countries to establish a democratic regime. The constitution was drafted by elected members of the Constituent Council, and signed into law on November 11, 1962 by the late Amir Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah. Since then, Kuwait has been holding free and fair parliamentary elections.
With regard to the economy, the Kuwaiti Government exerts concrete efforts to spur economic growth. Several measures taken by the government, including, among others, the implementation of economic and fiscal reforms and control of expenditures start paying off. According to the World Bank report, Kuwait’s economic growth is projected to rebound to 3.5 per cent in 2019. The current fiscal year 2018/19 recorded an increase in oil revenue by 22.2 per cent and non-oil revenue by 21.7 per cent, reflecting success of the economic and fiscal reforms.
Since oil and gas remain the backbone of the economy, Kuwait plans to invest more than half a trillion US dollars over the next two decades to boost its oil and gas output and refining capacity. A handful of projects were on the cards to boost oil production to 4.75 million barrels per day, and raise the natural gas to 2.5 billion cubic feet per day by 2040.
In the meantime, Kuwait forges ahead with diversification efforts under the National Development Plan, or New Kuwait 2035, which sets out long-term development priorities that are being pursued through 164 development programmes.
Kuwait’s strategic geographic location offers multiple investment opportunities in various sectors with very high returns. Since the Bronze Age, Kuwait has always served as an international hub, connecting East and West, and now Kuwait is working towards reviving this concept. Our country has the real potential needed to ultimately morph into a global financial and commercial hub. Kuwait has been carrying out huge projects, including, expansion of Kuwait’s international airport, housing project of South Al-Mutlaa that aims to accommodate 400,000 residents with the construction of 28,363 housing units, the Silk City, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Bridge, and the 171km-long inner city transport project of Kuwait’s Metro. Total estimated cost of these projects is USD157.2 billion.
Furthermore, Kuwait is set to pump in USD60 billion to develop five islands that would generate an annual revenue of around USD40 billion and create more than 200,000 jobs. Kuwait is delivering on its commitment to diversify the national economy through accomplishing mega infrastructure projects. Over the course of a few decades, Kuwait would witness a tremendous transformation.
In connection with global indices that monitor and evaluate development, Kuwait has made vast improvements. Our country did well in the 2019 Doing Business Report of the World Bank Group. Kuwait’s Ease of Doing Business ranking in 2019 was 97 out of 190 countries compared to 102 in 2017.
This achievement came about as a result of the pro-business reforms made recently to improve the business environment in Kuwait. Moreover, Kuwait ranked 45th out of 156 countries in the 2018 World Happiness Report, 54th out of 140 in the Global Competitiveness Index 2018 and 33rd in the 2018 World Giving Index.
Concerning the humanitarian aid, Kuwait spares no efforts to help needy nations and peoples regardless of their geographic location, religious beliefs or ethnic origins. Kuwait has followed a steady approach in providing humanitarian assistance to all.
The humanitarian activism became a pillar of Kuwait’s foreign policy since His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s assumption to power in 2006. The Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq held last year is a testament of Kuwait’s commitments on giving aid. Last September, Kuwait celebrated the 4th anniversary of the UN honouring His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah as a ‘Humanitarian Leader’ and of Kuwait as a ‘Centre of Humanitarian Action’. The well-deserved UN honouring came in recognition of the outstanding contributions of Kuwait to humanitarian cause.
Kuwait’s role in maintaining regional and international peace has been further strengthened through obtaining a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for a two-year term (2018/2019). From day one of its non-permanent membership, Kuwait has been committed to a practical approach to tackling various issues on the agenda of the council. This approach translated into action Kuwait’s foreign policy, which is based on respect for the sovereignty and stability of other nations and non-interference in their domestic affairs, and preserving the international peace and security.
On the bilateral ties front, Kuwait and Brunei established diplomatic relations nearly three decades ago.
One can describe the relationship as being historically close, warm and friendly, built on mutual respect and common interests. Kuwait will never forget the supportive stance of Brunei against the Iraqi invasion in 1990.
Though I have recently presented my Letter of Credence to His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam; however, I am so optimistic and confident about making more progress in bilateral cooperation in various fields of mutual interest during my tenure.
Proceeding from the strong commitment of our wise leadership to further strengthening and deepening these relations, I would spare no effort to promote the relations to higher levels.
Exchange of high-level visits reflects the depth of the relationship between the two leaderships, the ruling families and the friendly peoples. His Highness the Amir’s historic state visit to Brunei in 2016 helped to usher higher levels of camaraderie between the two states. Several agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) were signed between the two countries aiming at strengthening bilateral relations and deepening cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
The Brunei-Kuwait Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation was set up to discuss and explore ways of expanding bilateral economic and technical cooperation. The joint committee has convened three times during the past few years that added much to the distinguished ties. I look forward to the 4th meeting of the joint committee.
I wish to extend my kindest congratulations to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the government and the people of Brunei on their 35th National Day.
The simultaneous celebrations of our National Days, which fall on February, bodes well for a prosperous future and stronger relations between our two countries.